Harold and the Purple Crayon (Mini book)

by Crockett Johnson

Paperback, 1993



Call number




Scholastic Paperbacks (1993), 60 pages


Harold goes for an adventurous walk in the moonlight with his purple crayon.

User reviews

LibraryThing member conuly
One night, the self-reliant Harold couldn't sleep, so he decided to go for a walk in the moonlight.

Using his crayon, he makes everything he needs - including the moon. He gets himself into accidental trouble with his crayon (accidentally making a sea, not making the second half of a mountain,
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making a city full of windows to get lost in), but he always manages to save himself with the same crayon (making a boat, a hot air balloon, and finally his own window "right around the moon").

He even puts himself to bed at the end, knowing he's tired.

Who wouldn't want a kid as independent and responsible as this kid?

It's truly a fantastic book, and you should definitely not ignore it.
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LibraryThing member nmhale
Harold and the Purple Crayon has been a favorite of the picture book genre for quite some time, and the reputation is well deserved. In this charming story about creativity, Harold decides to go for a walk in the moonlight. He needs some moon for a moonlight walk, though, so he draws one. He also
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draws the path, and the field, and the forest he finds. With his wonderful purple crayon, he draws everything he sees and experiences along his journey, mostly by intention, but occasionally by accident. When he draws a dragon to guard the apple tree, he is so frightened by his own invention that his hand shakes, creating water waves into which he stumbles. Good thing he keeps his head and draws a boat. Or when he draws a mountain to look for his house, but trips at the top; he hasn't drawn the other side of the mountain yet, so he is falling through the air, when he thinks about drawing a hot air balloon, and saves himself. Eventually, Harold finds his way back to his own familiar room. He draws up his covers, and falls asleep.

Harold's adventures show his creativity and the power of his imagination, which sweep him up so completely that sometimes he's controlling it, and sometimes it's controlling him. Each page uses just a small amount of simple sentences, because the illustrations convey so much of the story. This narrative is perfect for reading aloud, not only because the word count is small, but also because the text is readable. The rhythm is just right, the concise descriptions embed sly humor (drew up the covers, and so on). The subject matter is brilliant - children love to draw. My oldest daughter is in a phase right now where she draws all over the place. The act of creation is a powerful force, and children are especially attuned to this gift. Harold's story, about a boy drawing an entire world around him, is therefore quite appealing. My girls, who are just beginning to sit still for simpler picture books, listen closely to this whole narrative, even though it has more pages than others. I definitely agree with this picture book's standing as a child's classic, and recommend it to families.
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LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
When Harold decides that he wants to go for a walk in the moonlight, the youngster doesn't allow the lack of either moon or path to stand in his way. Taking his magical purple crayon, he creates them both, drawing the world into existence around him, as he proceeds from adventure to adventure.
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Falling into the sea, but then drawing himself a sailing boat; plummeting off a one-sided mountain, but creating a hot-air balloon in mid-tumble - Harold has everything he needs in his purple crayon...

Originally published in 1955, this classic picture-book for younger children is one of those universally beloved books that I somehow missed, in my own girlhood reading. I'm glad that it was chosen as one of our November titles over in The Picture-Book Club to which I belong, where our theme this month is "Classic Picture-Book Characters," as this gave me the impetus I needed to finally pick it up. What an incredibly perceptive portrait of a child's imaginative process it contains! How true it is that we create the world around us (and not just as children) through our imaginative lives. The starkly minimal artwork here perfectly complements the simple but effective text, which builds the story outward at first - outward into the blank unknown, where Harold has the freedom to be and do anything, safe in the knowledge that his purple crayon (his creative power) will keep him safe - before returning it to the safety of home and of bed. Amusing, clever, perceptive - Harold and the Purple Crayon is children's literature at its best, demonstrating yet again that for those with the true vision, great artistic and intellectual merit can be found in the simple and the small.
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LibraryThing member luckybeans
A classic book that tells of one boys self-made adventures as he journeys to find his bed using his purple crayon. A brilliant story for re-enacting and for using as a jumping off point into fabulous, crayon-led adventures of one's own. All sorts of tv show knock-offs and so forth, but the charm of
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the book is its simplicity.
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LibraryThing member MrsLee
I've always loved these stories for their imaginative drawings, puns and fun adventures. Harold is fearless with his crayon!
LibraryThing member ReadAloudDenver
Where can a purple crayon take you? Wherever your imagination takes you. For Harold, it was on adventures out in a boat at sea, high up in a balloon and up to the top of a mountain. The illustrations and story will help your child develop narrative skills where they describe the story in their own
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LibraryThing member stharp
Oh the wonderful world of imagination! This fantasy takes a child's imagination into its own realistic world, making the reader what Harold is going to think of next. A wonderfully written theme make it more fun to read, with every creation and a whole world created all with just one crayon and the
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mind of a little boy, it truly speaks volumes into the value of a child's perceptions.
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LibraryThing member clong
I had fond, but distant, memories of this one from my own childhood. It has now become a favorite of the youngest of my three kids, currently aged four. There is something gloriously creative about Harold's simple drawings and the imaginary world into which he transforms them, an imaginary world
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which starts when you stray from the straight and narrow path, and in which perils are never too threatening as long as you keep your purple crayon handy.
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LibraryThing member mayalanda
Awesome book. Very imagniative, and great for promoting the concept of imagnation.
LibraryThing member MontglaneChess
A boy uses a purple crayon to draw himself an adventure. The character is solely defined by his actions. Plot is easy to follow and linear, with a small climatic moment. Setting is simply drawn by the child and propels him to the next step of the journey. Theme is power of the imagination. Text and
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illustrations are simplistic. Cultural markers are not present. Would be a guilty pleasure purchase for a high school library, but highly rec'd for public and elementary school libraries. Useful for a child lit collection at a university library.
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LibraryThing member xtina2008
A boy uses a purple crayon to draw a backdrop for a gentle adventure. The character is defined solely by his adventure. The plot is linear with a small dynamic movement. The setting is simply drawn by the child and propels him into. This book does not address cultural issues.
Highly recommend for
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the elementary library.
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LibraryThing member artlibby
Class review- A boy uses a purple crayon to draw a backdrop for a gentle adventure. The character is defined solely by his adventure. The plot is linear with a small dynamic movement. The setting is simply drawn by the child and propels next step of the journey. The power of the imagination is the
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theme. The text and illustrations are sparse and simple. Cultural markers are not present. Highly recommended for elementary library.
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LibraryThing member stevetempo
One of my all-time favorites when I was a little tike. I read it over and over. I even had my own purple crayon :-). The perfect book for an explorer and a dreamer.
LibraryThing member kyoder06
Genre: Modern Fantasy
Age Appropriateness: primary
Media: pen, ink, paint

This is a good example of modern fantasy because we see Harold go on all kinds of adventures with his purple crayon that are unrealistic. As the reader we see him creating a world by drawing it with the purple crayon but in
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reality this is not possible. He drew mountains, water, houses, etc.
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LibraryThing member KristinWhite
Great for kindergarten and first grade. It teaches children to be imaginative, just like Harold is imaginative when drawing with his purple crayon.
LibraryThing member JamieJohnson
A classic book that tells of one boys self-made adventures as he journeys to find his bed using his purple crayon. A brilliant story for re-enacting and for using as a jumping off point into fabulous, crayon-led adventures of one's own. All sorts of tv show knock-offs and so forth, but the charm of
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the book is its simplicity
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LibraryThing member chron002
This is a great book for imaginary play. Harold draws things with his purple crayon and they come to life. This teaches children to be creative and you could have them draw with their purple crayon in class. I think this is a very cute book!
LibraryThing member menaramore
This story is a classic tale about a boy named Harold who wants to take a walk in the moonlight. First, he needs some moonlight, so he draws a moon and a path to walk on. Then, Harold goes on an adventure that he draws himself with his purple crayon. This is a great story about imagination and
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LibraryThing member rsteinberg
In this book Harold draws the story.While you read don't just read but look at the pictures.This book is good for people of all ages young or old. The book looks like a babyish book but it's not.
LibraryThing member ctorstens
Loved this as a kid, read it to my mom, even though I couldn't read... just memorized it. It scared me though, what a lonely world.
LibraryThing member setonhansen
This is about a boy eho has a purple crayon and decides to go for a walk. With his purple crayon he draws everything he sees on his walk. Until he is ready to go to bed. Then he tries to draw his window but he can't. He finally remembers what his window looks like and is able to draw his window,
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bed, and covers and is able to go to sleep.
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LibraryThing member NicoleHeelan
Harold decided to take a walk one night in the moonlight. During his walk, he ran into some obstacles and had to use his purple crayon to draw things that could help him. His walk turned into an adventure. He sailed the seas, rode in a hot air balloon, had a picnic, and many other activities.
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Toward the end, Harold wanted to go back home, but he couldn't find his window. Once he finally figured out where it was, he drew himself a bed and went to sleep.

I really liked this story. It is full of excitement and you need a big imagination to follow along!

In the classroom, I would have the children create their own stories with one crayon just like Harold's. Also, we could all make one big classroom story.
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LibraryThing member DanielleSt
Harold's imagination runs wild as he creates his own adventures with a purple crayon and only a purple crayon. He explores all different types of terrain and investigates different interactions with objects and animals, although no people. Eventually Harold creates a comfort zone, his window and
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bed, and drifts off to sleep.
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LibraryThing member spytel
A classic. Was wonderful then and is wonderful now. A book that all kids can related to and wish they were part of. Harold uses his imagination and his purple crayon to go anywhere and do anything. The simple drawings by Crockett Johnson are all part of the charm of this book. Definitely worth
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LibraryThing member JoleneShafer
Harold's imagination is let loose when he is holding his purple crayon. He sets off on an adventure only to find that his bed is where he feels most at home.


Original language


Original publication date



0590339427 / 9780590339421

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